Sundance Film Festival Music News: January 24

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Filed January 24, 2011

The uncanny sure consistency at every annual Sundance festival is that one counts on always discovering some of the most challenging filmmaker, composer, music supervisor, artist performances of the year.

Today, press screenings for actor/filmmaker Michael Rappaport’s BEATS, RHYMES, LIFE: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest, utilized many of the iconic Quest tracks off their three principal records: “People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm,” “The Low End Theory,” and “Midnight Marauders.” Filmmaker Rappaport said in the post-screening Q & A, “The life span [of hip-hop artists] is short. You have great hip-hop artists who were killed. You have great hip-hop artists that went to jail. The art form is still evolving. I thought it was criminal that [Tribe] wouldn’t make music but they are all still functioning.”

Next up was Morgan Neville’s TROUBADOURS, another documentary that shed light on the Los Angeles legendary singer-songwriter venue, Doug Weston’s The Troubadour. Ample archival footage, interviews, and artist cues of music icons James Taylor, Carol King, Elton John, Eagles, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, David Crosby, and Steve Martin peppered filmmaker Neville’s concept that singer-songwriter “troubadours” were an mellowing elixir after the drug-excess, turbulent 60’s.

Last treat of the day – the legendary icon Lou Reed stunned the room at Main Street’s Sundance House before a packed industry showcase. Mr. Reed is in Park City as a first-time filmmaker for his short, RED SHIRLY, a portrait of the filmmaker’s 100-year-old activist, unionist, cousin, an articulate, living historical individual. Filmed in New York’s Chelsea Garment Worker Project and photographed by portraitist Ralph Gibson, Red Shirley is an example of how “the west was won.”